As the state with one of the highest costs of living, largely due to its ‘green’ regulations on vehicle emissions and other initiatives that have earned it the nickname ‘taxifornia’, the last thing most Californians want to do is pay even more in unnecessary surcharges, fees and taxes.
Yet that’s exactly what one militant climate-change advocacy group is asking them to do.
According to CBS Sacramento, a group called the Perennial Farming Initiative is asking restaurateurs to sign up for passing an “optional” 1% surcharge along to their patrons. The money will be funneled to the California Air Resource Board, and spent on plans to implement “carbon plans on farms and ranches.”
The plan, called the Restore California Renewable Restaurants, ultimately aims to take carbon emissions out of the air and transplant them into the soil, where they can help plants grow.
But unsurprisingly, people in liberal-leaning Sacramento appeared to be split on the plan.
“There’s always going to be the people who say, why is this on the bill? I don’t want to pay it. I don’t care what it’s for. I don’t want to pay it,” Christopher Barnum-Dann, the owner of Localis, said.
Though the group argued that the 1% surcharge would be insignificant to most people, and diners relying on a fixed income can avoid it by simply preparing their meals at home.
“We’re not asking our fixed-income people to pay that on their property tax. We’re asking that of someone who had made a choice to go out and spend money,” another resident, John Peters, said.
Also, because the program is intended to be ‘optional’, diners who don’t want to contribute to saving the environment can simply ask the have it taken off the bill (that is, if they even notice it’s there).
Still, for all the talk about how the 1% charge is ‘insignificant’, one resident pointed out that California is already ‘pretty freaking expensive’, and that asking people to keep paying new fees and surcharges in a state with one of the highest tax burdens in the country is tantamount to asking them to spend money that they don’t have.
“Well I live in California and I don’t know if you know this or not it’s pretty freaking expensive here. One percent to somebody who doesn’t make that much money ain’t a lot but it’s a lot more than they have,” resident Mike Mattingly said.
Undeterred by these complaints, the campaign’s organizers are pressing ahead: They hope to have 200 restaurants signed up by the end of the year. Ultimately, one organizer said that if they can get 40,000 of the state’s nearly 90,000 restaurants to sign up, they’d be pulling in “a decent chunk of money”.